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Rafael Pardo: "In Spain there is little media interest in science"

[30/05/14]

Rafael Pardo, Director of the BBVA Foundation and Research Professor at the CSIC (Higher Scientific Research Council) was involved in the IDEC-UPF Scientific Communication Master's  presenting to students the most recent study undertaken into public knowledge and attitudes regarding the sciences. "In terms of volume, there is little media interest in science except when there is a major discovery. The media focus little on scientific research, despite the importance that it can have for society, and there are few specialist journalists," asserts Professor Pardo, who is also critical of the quality of the information published. "Perhaps what is needed is a rethinking of the narrative structure, which is too hemmed in by the concept of scientific study itself. We could then communicate what is really of interest to the general populace, in other words talking in terms of health rather than biomedicine".

Pardo distinguishes in this regard between science which serves to advance knowledge, and science focused on the immediate resolution of problems. "There is little knowledge of the structure and system of science, and little control over researchers, productivity, publication of papers…". The BBVA foundation undertook a study  in 11 countries (10 in Europe and the USA) to examine perceptions and attitudes in public opinion towards science and technology. "The aim was in short to form an image of  a society's scientific culture. For example, while Spain is at the foot of the table in terms of public knowledge of scientists and their work, in countries such as Poland there is much greater scientific awareness and interest".

Pardo delivered a masterclass to students on the Scientific Communication Master's, accompanied by the course director, Vladimir de Semir.

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